This Thanksgiving, I was especially thankful for something I’ve been in short supply of lately: TIME.
Time to hug, kiss, snuggle, tickle, laugh. Time to visit with family. Time to eat potatoes. Time to eat tofurkey.
Time to sneak in on Finn as he slept, just to watch. Time to listen to his favorite song so many times that I started involuntarily singing it in the shower. Time (for Daddy!) to let Finn run naked in his room and pee on the rug — and time to actually take the rug to get cleaned.
Time to crouch with Finn in our autumnal south florida garden, running our fingers over beet greens and swiss chard. Time to enjoy weather that dropped down into the FIFTIES, and time to dress Finn in cute, little sweaters and hats.
Watching him run in the crisp air made me feel like a kid again, hopeful and amazed.
Of course, little ones and their parents have ways of communicating with one another from the moment they leave the womb (and some might argue before), but around here, this past month has involved new kinds of conversations: These days Finn uses specific sounds, half-words, and hand signs to convey very particular things. He loves to loudly identify the “moon” (Finn-speak: “looooo”) on any night and any page, shout “BA BA!” whenever Roomba circulates to clean the floors (the poor kid has no pets!), whisper “Bub” when pointing at the bubbles in his bath book, and has now started to pronounce parts of a few different food-words, like “apple,” “banana,” and “pasta.” This last development, in conjunction with his small repertoire of useful hand signs — which include “more,” “all done,” “milk,” and “bath,” along with a few he’s invented on his own — allows him to actually converse with us at the table! Last night, he effectively requested that we shake the salad dressing (yes, shaking things is currently one of his FAVorite things to do), give him more carrots and pasta, and then start running his bath water:
Now that he’s fulfilling his end of the conversation by communicating his desires to me, I need to make sure I don’t fail miserably by responding with slippery pieces of squash on a baby fork. Sorry Finnsty-Foo!
Thirteen is most certainly not an unlucky number, Finn. Your world is too rich with continually rediscovered simple treasures, like the branches you love to hit against things, the seedlings on the patio that you can’t keep your fingers away from, the small blow-up pool you stepped into today despite the fact that it was empty.
At one month past your first year and into your second, you are unstoppable. You no longer find the baby-proofed sections of the house appealing, and will dart into unknown realms as soon as you see a second’s breach in our “security system.” You squeal and laugh when we hold up your shoes but arch your back in defiance if we try to put you into a stroller. You want to be out and about on your own, not pushed around.
Oh — you will NOT be pushed around! You have always wanted your way, but now you INSIST on putting that stone into your mouth, touching the neighbor’s garden goose, standing up in the tub, or demanding another book. Fortunately for all of us, you are starting to use new ways to communicate this insistence: you’re finally using some of the signs we’ve been trying to teach you. Yesterday, without prompting, you used your hands to tell us when you wanted more cantaloupe. Barely able to contain ourselves, we gave you more, and more, and more, until you finally signed that you were “all done.”
Silly, silly boy — you’re just beginning!
Since Finn’s fourth tooth has FINALLY arrived after months of drooling, agonizing night-waking, and, yes, BITING, it’s appropriate that we dressed him as a little shark for Halloween. We fashioned and velcroed a fin to his back, put felt teeth and styrofoam eyes on a hat, and dressed ourselves as shark victims. What a stir he created on South Beach, circling and darting across Lincoln Road with his dorsal behind him!